Man wanted in killing of sheriff's deputy is dead

The body of a Caldwell County man wanted in the killing of a sheriff's deputy last week was found in a secluded area of his property Wednesday, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

Searchers found the body of Skip Brinkley on his 35-acre farm in rural Caldwell County about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday – at the same time mourners were holding a funeral service for the deputy, Adam William Klutz, in another part of the county.

“I was sitting in the church, and I teared up right then,” said Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones. “I couldn't have asked for it to work out any better, I couldn't have prayed for it to work out any better.”

He broke the news to Klutz's family after the funeral and said they were relieved.

Klutz, 25, was shot late Friday night, when he responded to a 911 hang-up call at Brinkley's farm on Fox Winkler Road. A second officer, Lt. Chris Martin, showed up a few minutes later and was shot three times in the chest while getting out of his car. Martin, who was wearing a vest, returned fire and wasn't seriously injured.

Brinkley, 32, was found sitting on the ground in a wooded area about a half-mile from his house, Jones said.

He didn't know when Brinkley died, but said that, based on the condition of the body, he didn't believe Brinkley had been dead since Friday. He did say there were reports of a gunshot heard in that area on Tuesday.

Brinkley fled after the shooting, and hundreds of law enforcement officers have scoured the county in the days since.

They searched Brinkley's property once already, and about 80 searchers returned Wednesday for a more intensive search. A team from the Hickory Police Department found the body.

Jones said he didn't know what kind of gun Brinkley used.

Brinkley was an S.C. native who recently changed his name from Larry Wayne Brucke Jr.

He and his fiancee, Jennifer Foutty, bought the land on Fox Winkler Road about a year ago, built a barn at the base of a mountain and had recently started constructing a house.

Jones would not give any more information about the 911 call on Friday or what preceded it and said “we may never know” what motivated Brinkley.